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01-Mar-2018 22:11

However, from the late 12th century to the early 15th century, Anglo-Norman French and Anglo-French were much used in law reports, charters, ordinances, official correspondence, and trade at all levels; they were the language of the King, his court and the upper class.There is evidence, too, that foreign words (Latin, Greek, Italian, Arabic, Spanish) often entered English via Anglo-Norman.Grammatically, Anglo-Norman had little lasting impact on English although it is still evident in official and legal terms where the ordinary sequence of noun and adjective is reversed, for example attorney general: the spelling is English but the word order (noun then adjective) is French.Other such examples are heir apparent, court martial, and body politic.Private and commercial correspondence was carried out in Anglo-Norman or Anglo-French from the 13th to the 15th century though its spelling forms were often displaced by continental spellings.Social classes other than the nobility became keen to learn French: manuscripts containing materials for instructing non-native speakers still exist, dating mostly from the late 14th century onwards.In Northern France, almost nothing was at that time being recorded in the vernacular because Latin was the language of the Church and consequently of education and historiography, and was thus used for the purpose of records.Latin did not disappear in medieval England either: it was used by the Church, the royal government and much local administration, as it had been before 1066, in parallel with Middle English.

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The resulting virtual trilinguism in spoken and written language was one of medieval Latin, diverse French varieties and Middle English.

When William the Conqueror led the Norman conquest of England in 1066, he, his nobles, and many of his followers from Normandy, but also those from northern and western France, spoke a range of langues d'oïl (northern varieties of Gallo-Romance).

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